Grand Basel is the ultimate show for automotive masterpieces, presented by the MCH Group, which has a proven track record of delivering outstanding, ground-breaking shows.

What is Grand Basel?

Grand Basel explores the relationship between cars, humans, nature, architecture and design, bringing together automobiles of the past, present and future in an unrivalled, pioneering setting. The show is a completely new approach to exhibiting, discussing and honouring the car.

Grand Basel showcases a limited number of carefully-selected, top-of-the-range automobiles – not just the most dignified and luxurious classic cars, but also one-off contemporary editions and technically-advanced concept cars. These automotive masterpieces are carefully selected from the applications received, with special consideration for each car’s cultural meaning, conceptual innovation, condition, provenance, rarity and value.

10 questions with Mark Backé

Mark Backé, Global Director of Grand Basel

Mark Backé has a wealth of management experience in the automotive industry including global product launches and international events. His experience has assured Grand Basel’s position as a revolutionary celebration of the automobile.

There are already very successful trade fairs existing on the global market. How does Grand Basel differ significantly?

Established car events often feature hundreds or thousands of cars – but Grand Basel is different. Each of our exhibits are carefully selected, with a decision made on the basis of the car’s design appeal, provenance, cultural value and historical significance. We also work with a completely independent advisory board, encompassing leading figures from beyond the automotive world. These include cultural and design authorities, architectural experts and artists, and they bring additional input for Grand Basel, curating specific aspects of each show.

What do you see as the advantages of this new approach?

We want to present true automotive masterpieces to our guests, and by being incredibly discerning about the exhibits, we can ensure peerless quality. Furthermore, Grand Basel presents not just cars, but everything that is associated and inspired by cars. With input from our unique advisory board, it showcases the epitome of automotive culture, and appeals not just to connoisseurs of the car, but to a broad, discerning audience interested in aesthetics, technological sophistication, art and culture.

Is the individual focus on exhibits the reason why you have chosen a specific show architecture?

That is absolutely right. At Grand Basel, the exhibits are the stars. The modular, contemporary and homogenous exhibition architecture was inspired by the world of art galleries. It is a reduction to the essentials, and allows each exhibit to be ‘framed’ like any other work of art.

Does that mean that exhibitors do not have their own planning and construction costs and only take care of the delivery of their vehicles?

This is certainly a useful side effect of our purposeful focus on homogeneity of the exhibition space. Exhibitors need not spend time and money delivering a grand space of their own; rather, their cars will speak for themselves with no unnecessary distractions.

Did you also come up with something special when it came to lighting?

Making sure these automotive masterpieces were lit in the best possible way – while fulfilling our considerations for sustainability – was a big concern for us. For this reason, we are working with the ERCO company, which specialises in efficient lighting for museums, and which has composed a special system just for Grand Basel that guarantees optimal illumination.

We understand that Grand Basel is a curated trading platform with its own exhibition architecture. Are there any other special features for the show?

Grand Basel will appeal to a discerning audience with a multitude of interests, but we wanted to make sure that collectors and investors found the perfect environment in which to discuss the cars with the necessary peace and discretion. For this reason, access to Grand Basel on the first two days is only possible by invitation.

This early exclusivity sounds like the concept of Art Basel. In general, it feels like there is a lot of conceptual proximity between Art Basel and Grand Basel. Is that deliberate?

Both shows operate under the umbrella of the MCH Group. In this sense, there should be no surprise about the perceived similarities. MCH Group’s extensive experience and unrivalled network of discerning patrons are central to ensuring Grand Basel’s success.

You emphasised the international orientation of Grand Basel. What is behind it?

The format of Grand Basel is designed from the beginning so that presentation of the show in various locations around the world is part of the agenda. The automobile influences – and is influenced by – society and culture in every part of the globe, and so the discussions at Grand Basel will always have relevance.